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When Aimé Maeght, a French art dealer, lost his young son to leukemia in the 1950s, a trio of formidable modern painters—Georges Braque, Joan Miró and Fernand Léger—persuaded him to turn the family’s summer retreat above the hills of Nice into an artists’ haven. The Marguerite and Aimé Maeght Foundation is 50 years old this month, and still bears abundant traces of the artists who made it happen: a magical Miró labyrinth, mosaics and stained glass by Braque. Its collection of 12,000 works includes 35 sculptures by Alberto Giacometti, as well as masterpieces by Pierre Bonnard, Marc Chagall, Miró, Léger and Alexander Calder, among others. On average, 200,000 visitors tour its colourful galleries and garden every year.

Behind the idyllic exterior, though, the institution is vulnerable. The foundation is finding it hard to raise its €3m ($4m) annual budget.

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